We have a new language our elected officials are using. This language hearkens back to the days of fiefdoms. Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor, used it when questioned about his use of a state park’s facilities when, because of a budget dispute, it was closed to the public. He stated: if the general populous wants to use the land let them run for governor. Now Christie has only six more months left in his governorship and he is the lowest polling governor in our country, but he has been the leader of this new public attitude. Our elected officials are now to enjoy the spoils of being elected. In the past they were public servants.
Trump has used similar language in saying to people: sorry if you do not like my policies but I won the election and deal with it. In the past we declared we were the president for all people and we said that we try to come up with the best compromise possible between the two sides. But this is no longer in our vocabulary. We are having a return to the survival of the fittest mentality in our politics. This was a philosophy that justified the robber barons running amok with our economy and the creation of monopolies and oppressive working conditions. This stands to reason as we now have a president who is a neo-robber baron.
But Christie and Trump are not the only ones. The quintessential novel justification of robber barons mentality, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, was\is the inspiration for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Maybe this is to be expected when, as the far right says, Christianity is under attack. It is not the far right’s attack on Christmas that is occurring but an attack on Jesus’ example of servanthood. To be last in our new world is not to be the greatest. The aggressive, take no prisoners are our favorite leaders. Thus the fascination with Putin and other wannabe dictators. It is not the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” or “It’s a Wonderful Life’s” George Bailey; they are too weak. We are okay with the fact Trump did not pay his contractors and workers. That is a good move if you can get away with it. We are okay that Trump may not have paid taxes; that is good business sense.
I know that it has always been a part of a politician’s habit to make themselves richer while serving the public, but the language and the moral suasion of “you serve the public” has been a guideline to which you must at least pay verbal and occasional homage. Where this new language and survival of the fittest ideology will take us is looking dark. Maybe Christianity can revive the image of the ruler who arrives on an ass (and is not one), and not in a carriage can somehow be revived.